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Us 12, Oklahoma 9, Orlando 6, Russia 6, Benghazi 6, Clinton 5, Ukraine 5, Florida 5, Morris 5, Donald Sterling 4, Premarin Vaginal Cream 4, Ortho 4, America 4, Clarence Thomas 4, T.j. 4, Alex Witt 3, Conner 3, Affleck 3, Barack Obama 3, Abc 3,
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  MSNBC    Weekends With Alex Witt  

    May 3, 2014
    9:00 - 11:01am PDT  

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wash in sweet dreams with tide, downy, and bounce. the sweet dreams collection has scents so relaxing so you can tuck in and turn off after a day oh so taxing. ♪ [ click ] well, look who's talking. the woman at the center of the donald sterling controversy says he's not what he appears to be. new reaction to her new interview. also the politics of poverty. what happened between that meeting between paul ryan and the congressional black caucus?
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did they find any common ground. i'm going to talk to congressman jim clyburn. he was in that room. also, and they're off. a preview of america's biggest horse race. who's the likely favorite. and will the weather cooperate? and it's the attraction in orlando. a city of attractions. but this one is the latest. is it an immediate hit though. could this type of new rail line be headed for a city near you? hello, to you all, it's high noon in the east. 9:00 a.m. out west. we're glad you're right here. i'm t.j. holmes in for alex witt today. more powerful storm hitting the south today. as we know it was a difficult and deadly week for parts of the south. many states. taking a look here at tampa. seeing more thunderstorms after getting drenched friday. several roads, neighborhood, flooded. it will be dry in pensacola
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today after the area saw 20 inches of rain the past 2 or so days. also in kentucky, it's clear skies. churchill downs, just hours to go before the running of the roses. the run for the roses, i should say. the the weather channel's alex wallace is here with the rest of the forecast. >> big-time rain impacting parts of florida. we've got a buntry. this stuck in place. moisture around as whelp it scattered showers, storms here. north to south, things drying out. by the second half of the weekend, good chunk of florida drying out. southern florida, still a few showers. there's today's forecast for your saturday. scattered storms, tampa to orlando. sliding down towards the miami area. you'll see some of that active even as we head into tonight and tomorrow. now we're getting a little quieter along that corridor from tampa to orlando, daytona beach. southern tip, still a few showers to deal with there. northeast, we've got some
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showers here. we've got a rather weak system moving through. a few showers. nothing too hefty out there for you. gray skies. you'll see that in spots like pittsburgh, buffalo. while all that's going on, we're starting to heat up in the middle of the country. big ridge in place in the west really heating us up. now shifts east. these areas here in the plains will see highs 5 to 15 degrees above average. that's going to mean a lot of 90s. even some spots approaching 100 degrees. it's going to feel like summer in these areas through the weekend into early next week. it's going to get steamy. back to you. >> all right, thanks to alex. a day after april's strong jobs report, president obama took aim at republicans, urging them to do more to help the middle class. take a listen. >> they've said no to raising the minimum wage. no to equal pay for equal work. and no to restoring the unemployment insurance they let expire for more than 2 million americans looking for a new job. we could do a lot more.
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if republicans in congress were let interested in stacking the deck in favor of those at the top and more interested in growing the economy for everybody. >> msnbc's kristen welker. how does this fit into the president's agenda? >> the president and white house are seizing on this jobs report to argue the president's policies are working, president obama saying they would be working better, that the economy would be showing more strength. there's no doubt that this is a strong jobs report. economists feel good about this jobs report. 288,000 jobs were added last month. the unemployment rate ticked down, the lowest its been about in about five years. embedded in that number is the
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fact that 800,000 people left the job force, stopped looking for work. so that's the troubling part of this jobs report. and that is what president obama is holding on to to make his argument that republicans should do things like increase the minimum wage, pass unemployment insurance benefits. but, t.j., really, the issue is that those are keys to the democrats talking points as they head into the 2014 midterm elections. this issue of income inequality helped obama win re-election in 2012. while he and the democrats are hoping that same issue will help them hold on to the senate this year, t.j. >> you mentioned economists like this report, but still there's some pushback and we can expect it from certain corners. republicans are saying, what is the argument against this jobs report now? >> absolutely. house speaker boehner and other republicans are seizing on to that 800,000 figure, who left the workforce, who stopped looking for work. here's what house speaker john
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boehner had to say about this report, take a listen. okay, i'll just read you what he says. he says, while it's welcome news that more our friends and neighbors found work in the past month, this report indicates more than 800,000 americans left the workforce last month. which is troubling. president obama ought to call on this senate so we can get this economy moving again. now, republicans have introduced several jobs bills. so they are using this report to urge democrats to pass those jobs bills. democrats say they're not going to do that because they don't actually think it would increase jobs. they think it would take away from the middle class. but in terms of talking points for republicans when you think about 2014, i think you can expect them to focus on other issues like health care and benghazi because there's no doubt that the economy is showing signs of strength and that's good for democrats, t.j. >> thank you as always.
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continuing with politics. we learned from the white house the president will visit little rock, arkansas, that area of course that was hit hard and tour some of the devastation left by last week's deadly tornado and severe thunderstorm. 15 people died in that storm. former secretary of state condoleezza rice is backing out of delivering the commencement address at rutgers. some students and faculty were protesting her visit over her role in the iraq war. in a posting, rice says she didn't want to distract from the spirit of the ceremony. house spoker john boehner announced he will appoint a select committee to investigate the 2012 attack in benghazi that killed four americans including ambassador chris stevens. the committee issued a subpoena to force secretary of state john kerry to testify on the attacks, something ranking democrat e elijah cummings called shocking, disrespectful, to the secretary
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of state. former secretary state hillary clinton is getting another boost to her expected but not announced plans to run for president. senator tim kaine says he's ready for hillary, saying she's shown grace handling all problems in her years of public service. the scene of yesterday's violent clashes. it was the deadliest day in months. at least 42 people were killed overnight as fire broke out amid protests in the southern port city of odessa. pro-russian separatists and government supporters clashed in the streets and threw firebombs and stones as riot police attempted to suppress the flare-up. today, russian foreign minister sergey lavrov said the u.s. should call on ukraine to halt its military operations but he did agree on b on the need to a to the agreement made in geneva. we touched base a short time ago with correspondent james match
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who's on the ground there. >> reporter: the authorities here in ukraine insist their offensive to regain control of the eastern part of their country is not over. despite a day of setbacks yesterday in which they lost men and at least two helicopters. they say this morning they renewed the attack on the town which is just short of the separati separatist-held stronghold, their target. if they intend to press that battle to a conclusion, from what we know of the defenses in slovansk, it could be very bloody indeed. >> also today, people in odessa were laying flowers at the scene of the blood shed. you hear it all the time, see something, say something. well, she did. today, a minnesota woman is being credited in stopping what could have been a dem stating school attack. police say john david ladu was planning to kill his family and carry out a bomb and shooting
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attack at his high school. chelsea says she saw the 17-year-old acting is suspiciou and she called the police. >> looked like a young boy. didn't look like he just got done with school. the fact he was sitting here struggling for ten minutes to open the storage unit, something just didn't feel right about it. >> when police arrived, they found part of the suspect's arsenal in the storage facility. earlier today, we spoke to a local nbc affiliate reporter who has been covering the story. >> neighbors talk in his front yard, there was a tree he would be throwing knives at or chipping away at every day. just the detail he went into and the bombs that he practiced with, for lack of a better term, explosive devices. back in march, he set them off at a church, at a playground, just trying to perfect them. and he told police from what they're telling us, all of that,
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in his initial interview, and then he wrote it all down, exactly what formulas could be the most lethal. what formulas didn't work. so he had a plan in action. >> potentially deadly virus that has sickened hundreds across the middle east has now, for the first time, turned up in the u.s. an american who recently traveled to saudi arabia is now being treated for mers, the middle east respiratory syndrome. health experts say the general population is not at risk. but they're checking to see who else this american may have had contact with. in the middle east, at least 400 people have been diagnosed with that virus. las vegas casino won't be rolling out the red carpet for ben affleck. the hard rock casino has reportedly banned the future batman from playing black jack
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but it's not because of what you think. apparently, he is too good. security guards stopped affleck for allegedly counting cards. affleck was told he could play other game, at the casino. last year, you may remember, affleck played a gambling tycoon in the movie "runner runner" and apparently he learned a lot getting ready for that role. courtney love tries to set the record straight about a note released by police 20 years after the death of kirk cobain. also, our next guest talking about the politics of poverty. passion... became your business. at&t can help simplify how you manage it. so you can focus on what you love most. when everyone and everything works together, business just sings.
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policy makers from all sides of the aisle need to take a look at whether we're fighting poverty successfully or not. i think we can learn from these exchanges with one another.
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think what we're trying to accomplish here is improving the tone of debate so more people are invited to this debate. >> that was congressman ryan speaking this week following his meeting with the congressional black caucus. congressman ryan came under fire after he said on a talk radio show there's a culture problem in inner cities generations of men not work. a lot of people interpreted that as being code for black. joining me now is james clyburn, member of the congressional black caucus and author of the newly released memoir blessed experiences, genuinely southern, proudly black. young fella, always good to see you. we're going to get into the book here in a second. >> thank you. >> let's start with the congressional black caucus. you were in that room afterward. some said, you know what, not a lot was accomplished. i assume you wouldn't call it a waste of time. what is the balance between those two things. what did come out of this meeting? >> thank you so much for having
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me, t.j. >> yes, sir. >> i think any time you can sit around the table and have a genuine exchange, the chances of something developing are very great it but we didn't do anything of any significance during that meeting. my staff and his staff have gotten together. i think it was yesterday afternoon as a follow up to that meeting. because during the meeting, i shared with chairman ryan a recent piece i wrote for harvard law review on 10/20/30. it was published on the 1st march. i shared it with him. he tells me he's going to study it. that to me could be a very good first thought to doing something congressional black cause believes ought to be done, and that is start directing
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resources into those communities of need. >> well, it sounds like -- >> and so many of them -- >> i'm sorry. >> no, it sounds like, there was something -- there was a follow-up you're saying after that meeting and now something is being considered. it sounds -- okay, it might be slight at this point. a little progress was made there. do you see in the larger picture, it seems congress is never going -- they're not going to agree on issues. are those too big right now during a midterm season for us to even think we will get somewhere on and that's why we see a lot of states now taking up their own minimum wage? is that maybe what they need to do because it's not going to happen in congress this year? >> i'm no too sure it will happen. i do believe there are members october republican side that really want to do something about the minimum wage. and they're looking for a way forward that would include something that they feel more
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strongly about, and we'll see. there have been a lot of things talked about. i noticed the senate is going to vote next week on the pipeline. now, i have no idea what their vote's going to be, but it could be that people are offering up chances to vote on things and will take their chances on how they may come out. so if they vote on the pipeline, maybe they agree to vote on the minimum wage. i'm convinced that the minimum wage will, in fact, win, if the speaker were to allow it to come to the floor. >> boy, you sound hopeful. i saw you, you almost cracked a smile there in giving an answer about them taking up some of these things in the senate. maybe this is hopeful. let's turn to the jobs report many economists saw as hopeful. i think many democrats, the president certainly as well. kind of want to be cautious
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here. this is -- these things can change month to month. but as you see it, you know, we saw the unemployment rate going down but a lot of people leave the labor force. what is your takeaway from this be jos report right? the. >> well, two things. i am very hopeful. i'm a south carolinian. the motto of our state is, while i breathe, i hope. and so i live by that motto. but as it relates to this job report, you know, let me say this. i have no idea how many of that 800,000 may have left the seeking work because of retirement, because of having reached certain ages or because maybe some people have passed away. unless we're going to take a hard look at the 100,000 and find out exactly why they left,
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we ought not to be poo-pooing the job report. it's a positive report and they're always looking for the negative. i spend my time accent rating the positives and if you do that often enough, you will eliminate the negatives. >> and i hate to turn to a negative, but this was something that people were talking about a lot this week, away from the jobs report here. essentially, one of your colleagues calling justice clarence thomas, and i'm quoting here, called him an uncle tom. he has his own reasons for it and stood by it when he was asked about it later. i don't know, that kind of -- that kind of rhetoric, certainly negative, but what was your response to that from your fellow congressman? >> well, you know, bennett thompson is not just a political friend, he is a close personal friend. and we were friends for 20 years before we ever got to congress together. now we all are disappointed. every african-american i've talked to, except maybe one, is
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real disappointed in clarence thomas. anybody that is voting to limit the right to vote, limit the opportunity to register the vote by african-americans. you have these courts, three of them in recent weeks, getting rid of some of these laws that clarence thomas seems to be enamored with. that's got me disappointed. that's got african-americans all over this country disappointed. anybody who wants to know what i think about clarence thomas, i refer them to chapters 18 and 19 in the new book that came out three days ago that i hope we're going to talk about. >> we're turning to it right now. we are turning to it right now. i want to make sure that type of rhetoric, the uncle tom, would you use those words? is that a bad choice of words is essentially what i'm asking. >> i'm not going to say -- i
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don't use the word. i wouldn't call members of the -- of this administration scumbags as one of my colleagues from south carolina, my senior senator, used that word in referring to the members of this administration. now, which one of those words you find the most ominous? >> all right. i will leave it there. i do want to get to the book. something a lot of people are jumping on. i want you to talk about this. is a phone call you got from a former president who used some very choice words at 2:00 in the morning. i think this is at the beginning of the book. this is a call you got from president clinton. tell me about the phone call. >> the phone call came around 2:00 the night after the south carolina primary back in 2008. the president was very disappointed over the results of that primary. and i could understand that. his spouse, senator clinton, at
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the time, had just lost the south carolina primary. and there are a lot of people who felt that she would win that primary. well, the fact of the matter is, president obama, senator obama at the time, won that primary big. and the president was very disappointed. he called me that night and wanted to know -- he seemed to imply that i had something to do with her losing. i had not endorsed anybody in that primary because i'd promised i would not get actively involved. but just because you don't endorse doesn't mean you don't have the emotions. and it does not mean that you aren't going to vote. my wife didn't know how i was going to vote. if fact, she asked me, right after that phone call, well, how did you vote in this primary? so i don't know why anybody else would be so sure about what i
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was doing, when my own wife had no idea exactly what i was going to do. >> not to leave our viewers hanging, i think to be cleeshgs y clear, you felt like there was a way you couldn't not vote for barack obama. >> oh, no, i have three daughters, two of whom were actively working in this campaign. i have three grandchildren. i had two at the time. how could i ever look at them and go in a booth and not vote to make history as i did? yes, i did vote for barack obama. i didn't vote against senator clinton. i voted for barack obama. >> one other thing i want to hit on here as we wrap. you talk about your parents in the book. you said that you're still astonished to this day how hard they fought to get you and your brothers the educational opportunities they never had. you go back that far. we have a picture up here as well that our viewers can see. but as you -- how much did that
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really -- i guess you give your partisans all the credit in the world. how their decisions and that sacrifice and their insistence on education is why you're sitting where you are today? >> there's no question about it. my mother opened a kindergarten in our church when i was 4 years old. and enrolled all of us in that kindergarten. and all of the children who attended our church. my father was -- he never got a high school diploma. though he took a test. and entered college. but he wasser in er inever awar degree because he did not have a high school diploma. my dad did not tell me about that until i approached him with one of his former classmates. they were hard-working people who believed in educating their children. they wanted us to have what they
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never had an opportunity to have. i think about them daily. sometimes i get a little emotional when i reflect upon how much sacrifices they made for me and my brothers and adopted sister. >> representative clyburn, it's a blessed experience. the book just came out not too long ago. you said you've been writing it literally for the past 25 years. >> absolutely. >> always good to chat with you. the book is out now. i know we'll talk again soon. >> thank you so much for having me. >> we're coming up on the bottom of the hour here. coming up next, her side of the story. the woman at the center of the scandal involving the los angeles clippers owner speaks out. [ male announcer ] staples has everything you need
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i'm t.j. holmes. well, donald sterling is not a racist. that is at least what v. stiviano is saying. she is the woman at the center the troers involcontroversy inv l.a. clippers owner. here is the video of her wearing that fantastic visor. here's what she told abc's barbara walters. >> is donald sterling a racist? >> no. i don't believe it in my heart. >> had you heard him say derogatory things about minorities in general, blacks in particular? >> absolutely. >> you've heard him say derogatory things? >> yes. >> don't they sound racist to you? >> i think the things he says are not what he feels. anyone can say anything in the heat of the moment, but through his actions, he's shown that he's not a racist. through his actions, he's shown to be a very generous and kind man. >> the nba seems to have made up
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its mind about sterling. the league is taking the first steps towards forcing the 80-year-old billionaire to sell his team. will he go down with or without a fight? you can probably guess that. the nba is going to probably have to drag this out for years if he decides he is going to sue and not give his team up. joining me now, director of african studies at lehigh university, good to see you. and attorney for new york city mayor bill de blasio, my new friend, myra wily. what should we make of her telling us that the man's not a racist? should we take her at her word? >> well, i think we should take mr. sterling at his word. i think his word was pretty clearly racist. and that's the most important thing we can pay attention to. on actions, i think it's also important. look at his actions. this is a man who has had to settle two major lawsuits for
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trying to push black people who were paying their rent out of housing because they were black. >> all right, let me listen now. this is what she says about sterling's remarks and how they have to do with age. let's listen. >> i think mr. sterling's from a different generation than i am. i think he was brought up to believe those things. >> what things? >> segregation. whites and blacks. minorities. from black jews to light jews to dark jews. >> all right, on a grander point here, james, a generational thing, and we get that. some older folks came up in a different typime, a racist time. but she seems to be almost dismissive of it. what do we make -- again, trying to broaden this out a little bit for us all. are we still -- someone today is not growing up in the same type of time he is, but is it capable
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to produce those mind-sets today? >> it is possible to produce highly racist mind-sets but this gentleman, 82 years old, is no excuse for being racist. he's 80 years old. he's seen the civil rights movement. he's seen mlk. he's seen the integration of the nba over the course of his lifetime. he's seen enough change and progress that he can't sort of use his age as an excuse. maya's points are right here. we're not as much concerned about the interpersonal relationships like what he says deroguer to about people particularly in the privacy of his own home but we're concerned about the institutional racism that takes effect and how he conducts his business as a landlord and nba owner. let's say the things that matter in terms access in people's lives, less about him calling people bad names. really, his age should suggest that he's seen enough progress and change over the course of his lifetime that he has very much -- he has a lot of
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information at hand to understand why equal access, respect for people with different backgrounds, are all important aspects of the american fabric. >> maya, that attorney hat i know you keep in your purse always, is the nba going to have a bit of a struggle here? are they going to be up against it? if he decides, you know what, you can't force me to sell this team for the reasons you say i should. the bylaws have something called willful acts. do you think, just what we know at this point, will he have a bit of a case, say, hey, made some private comments that became public? >> well, he made some private comments that became public. certainly, you know, this is a matter of also the contract that the owners have with one another. look, there's always a lawsuit. i think as a lawyer, we can say there's always a lawsuit. fascinating about stiviano's comments is one inens sta, she's saying he is not a racist and in
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the second she's saying he is because of his age. a lot of inconsistency here. the bottom line for the nba, let's actually -- we should break down these numbers. black people are 13% of the population in the united states. we're almost half of the fan base for the nba. our purchasing power has outpaced our growth and population by 30%. 80% of the players in the nba are black. this is not representative of who the nba is. either a fan base. losing 12 major sponsors to the clippers because of his statement is a fundamental business interest to the nba because at the end of the day it's about profits and we're the ones who are driving it. >> it's amazing. is she absolutely right on all those numbers? did the nba decide it's serious enough to act, now this is ugly and it's costing us and this is bad business. >> exactly. >> i'm afraid sometimes things like this, james, we're going to miss the grander point and opportunity to turn this thing.
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it's just about up. because when you break it down, it's a billionaire who is paying black guys and making them millionaires. that is not the biggest problem that we have in the country necessarily. even though racism is. just want to make sure we don't miss a grander opportunity to make a grander point. that's why some of the players would have done a boycott to send that kind of message, the likes we don't see pretty much anymore. what would you like to see us on a grander scale, let's get away from sterling for a second, but what would you like to see us take out of all this? >> on a grander scale, i wish the nba players would have stepped up and made a bigger statement as well. i think we have to stay focused on the victims the kinds of housing discrimination we see in sterling's business. it's one of our most important civil rights challenges. also on a grander scale, what we have to do, we have to think about here, we're very good at sensationalizing and focusing in on these individual incidents. the media's very good at
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popularizing these sort of interpersonal sinchronic instances of racism. we have to stay focused. it's not about millionaires playing for a billionaire, it's really about the millions of people who are subject to the criminal justice system, our educational system, all across this land in a variety of ways. look ten data. look at the data on the racial gaps across social institutions in america and you'll see there's work here. instead of focusing on these particular sensationalized issues. >> an opportunity nonetheless. >> listen, there's one thing that's really important to say here, is don sterling does not make money to pay black people, those people make money to pay sterling. those nba players are making the money for the franchise. let's be clear on that. secondly, james is absolutely right. at the end of the day, it's not even about don sterling's age.
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because we have unstoerfortunat situation in which we are more segregated. we have seen tremendous progress on race in this country. we should acknowledge that. we should celebrate that. even within the nba in terms of general managers and coaches. so we've made progress. the end of the day, are we investing sufficiently in education? are we living together and working north ways that we're breaking down stereotypes about who we are? one of the things that happened in the course of the past decade is a lot of research that shows when white people play violent video games in which the avatar is black, it actually increases their perceptions that black people are violent. so there are many things happening in this general that are actually perpetuated negative attitudes towards black people. >> really, folks i absolutely
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respect, your opinions, and always love talking to you both on issues such as this. i know i'll talk to you again. thank you very much. new jobs report. whether it's really good news for democrats. we'll talk about that next. stay with us, folks. i love kiwis. i've always had that issue with the seeds getting under my denture. super poligrip free -- it creates a seal of the dentures in my mouth. even well-fitting dentures let in food particles. super poligrip is zinc free. with just a few dabs, it's clinically proven to seal out more food particles so you're more comfortable and confident while you eat. super poligrip free made the kiwi an enjoyable experience. [ charlie ] try zinc free super poligrip. i was 80% nervous. but with 100% odor protection, i had nothing to worry about. [ female announcer ] only secret offers clinical strength antiperspirant in your 2 favorite forms, with 100% odor protection. secret clinical strength. fearlessness. apply daily.
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one of the headlines making news on the west coast, the seattle "times" has this headline, courtney love, curt cobain didn't right marriage vow note, i did. you may remember, a note found at the scene where he killed himself. in an e-mail, love said she, not cobain, wrote the note and it dates from 1991, not 1994, when cobain died. the documents were made public about a month ago. nobody told us to expect it... intercourse that's painful due to menopausal changes. the problem isn't likely to go away... ...on its own. so it's time we do something about it. and there's help. premarin vaginal cream. a prescription that does what
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we need to keep going, to create more good jobs, and give middle class families a sense of security. and i want to work with congress to do it. but so far this year,
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republicans in congress have blocked or voted down every serious idea to create jobs and strengthen the middle class. >> in his weekly media address this morning, president obama took aim at republicans for failing to raise the minimum wage. the labor department says 288,000 jobs were added last month. that's the best in more than two years. unemployment rate fell to 6.3%. in this morning's "washington post" asks, can democrats levy friday's job report? let me bring in our guests. phillip, i'm going to start with you here. we're going to listen to congressman we had on earlier. would said democrats need to take a look at this carefully. let's listen and i'll bring you back in. >> you're trying to persuade movable voters now. those people either feel the economy is good or bad. you don't really need to tell them how it is. because everybody is dealing with their personal situation. and you run the risk there of
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alien eighting people if you say, oh, things are great, and it's not great for me. >> how do they do this carefully? how do they thread that needle? say, hey, this looks great, it's not the greatest? >> the economy's always been a strong indicator of particularly reflecting on the president. in 2012, there's a close correlation between how people felt the economy was doing and how they felt about the president. as we know, president obama has not been particularly pop la, seen as a threat to the democrats in november of this year. i think that any time there's any good news that can be lifted out, the democrats will and should do so in order to boost their chances. i'm not sure it's going to, to the congress member's point, change their minds about what the actual economy is in the minds of voters. >> they want to talk about this, this is some good news. is there any chance it can backfire over the next couple of months?
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>> i think if the numbers decline precipitously, it doesn't matter how they talk about it, it's going to be bad either way. this is the challenge in 2012 as election day approached. the president, they kept their fingers crossed that congress would continue as it did and we saw the results. it's bad news either way. >> what do they do here? he just talked about the things that crossed, that the numbers won't get so bad in the midterms. the president certainly wants to tout the numbers. they want to now latch on to the president's message? >> i think everybody should hope the job numbers are as great as they are now. they're good for everyone, not just democrats. as far as the midterms go, if this keeps going, maybe as phillip says then i think democrats who are running are running in a more stronger position. i think everyone is running in a strong position. what we saw with this attempt to run against obamacare, attempts to run against economy, those messages are weakening for all the right reasons.
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>> i don't know if you heard earlier, representative clyburn, he used this quote, he said don't poo-poo on the job numbers. their point, everybody wants to say, we have 800,000 people who left the job force. he said, i don't know if they retired, if they aged out, if they died. so what do we do there i guess in the meantime with the numbers? i mean, shouldn't we be look at that and say, wait a minute? >> yes, of course, there are other things here with the numbers. it's very important the economy grow. that jobs grow. that unemployment goes down, obviously, everybody wants that. but i think that, you know, going into this stretch, into the summer, i think the country's in a strong play which i think is a good thing for the president and probably for his party. >> i want to turn to something here. the white house yesterday as well, president obama was asked about this week's -- that botched execution in oklahoma. let's take a listen here. >> i'll be discussing with eric
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holder and others, you know, to get me an analysis of what steps have been taken, not just in this particular instance but more broadly in this area. i think we do have to, as a society, ask ourselves some difficult and profound questions around these issues. >> i want to get daphne in first because this is something she's absolutely followed closely. is this a potential to change in some way the debate about the death penalty in this country? one of those seminal moments? >> i think so. even proponents of the death penalty in this country do not want to see it administered in any kind of way that would be consistent with something that would be cruel or inhumane. the president is on the record himself saying there are cases in which he sees the death penalty may be appropriate. but what we saw in oklahoma i think is a serious warning sign
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for everybody about just how frightening this prospect can be be with drugs where they're administered in secret, nobody knows what the dococktail is, nobody knows exactly how it's done. i think this is an important step here for what the federal government may do, possibly changing guidelines that states that still have is the death penalty would adhere to. >> phillip, you wrap it for me here. what did this signal to you? >> i think it was a reminder that each people who support the death penalty have different definitions for when it's appropriate. on the same day that happened in oklahoma, there was a report released that showed an estimated -- looking at an analysis death penalty cases -- something like 4% of the people on death row or who have been executed were ninnocent of the crimes they committed. that is something that's going to cause a lot of people to stop and say, hey, we have something on this.
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it makes it difficult politically. >> thank you both today. i'll see you both soon, i'm sure. getting close to the top of the hour.tra train debeauing in florida. cramps but not phillips. it has magnesium and works more naturally than stimulant laxatives. for gentle cramp free relief of occasional constipation that works! mmm mmm live the regular life.
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in today's number ones to your credit, titans of business and good looking. first, who would ever want to leave the surf, sand and sun of hawaii? well, apparently 23% of the folks would live there. yep, new poll shows 23% of people would live in hawaii moves. that ties montana and maine for the states with the fewest residents wanting to move to another state. conversely, half of the state of illinois would like to pack up and leave. my goodness. connecticut's second on the desire to move with 49% just ahead of maryland at 47%. well, a new analysis of credit scores shows the nation's average is 665, but among residents of the nation's top 20
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cities, the city with the best credit score, minneapolis, with an average of 702. boston comes if at 694. just ahead of san francisco, 689. oprah winfrey is making cnbc's list of the top 25 people in business since it hit the air in 1989. she actually ranked seventh. wou who are the top threes? the former fed chairs both at number three. bill gates. and leading them all, the late steve jobs. >> you love it when i have problems. you love it because then you can be the good one. just say it. >> she is not just an oscar winner for her silver linings playbook role, but now she's been named british men's magazine's fhm's world sexiest women. a british soap star by the name of michelle keegan comes in second. also rihanna comes in third. those are your number ones.
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she has taken off the visor and she's talking about donald sterling and what she's saying about him just might surprise you. he wants out. and he's speaking out. a devoted family man just started serving time for a prison sentence handed down 13 years ago. why are so many saying he should be freed? also, like the sands of an hour glass, time may be running out on las vegas. what's putting the future of america's paradise in peril? >> did anybody not see that joke coming? show of hands. >> he's a stand-up guy. president obama preparing for tonight's annual event of one liners with the press corps. you know this is going to be good, as always, folks. hello to you, all. welcome to "weekends with alex
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witt." she has the day off. i'm t.j. holmes. give you a look now at what's happening. stiviano, yes, that woman is speaking out. it's a strange and interesting choice. trying to get maybe the lights, the flashing lights out of her face. that is the woman at the center of the donald sterling controversy over his racial remarks that sparked that firestorm. you can imagine how things are for her out in l.a. these days. she's sporting that visor maybe for a good reason. it actually has, this is no surprise either, it has its own twitter handle. mike taibbi. what do you do, man, the story's taken some strange twists and turns, throw in a visor. give us the latest. >> has taken some strange twists. she's not really the center of the story anymore. she's part of the circus-like atmosphere in this story that exploded only a week ago. the where's the beef part of the
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story is what sterling said to her. the owners met in a committee meeting earlier in the week. it said they were going to move as expeditiously as possible to begin the process kicking them out of the club. the question of how expeditiously that happened really rests with one person right now, stiviano but sterling himself. a miss by a single point. it's win or go home tonight for the clippers. with the team's future in the balance, v. stiviano, the female voice on those infamous recordings, took to abc to defend the team's embattled overer donald sterling. >> is donald sterling a racist? >> no, i don't believe it in my heart. through his actions, he's shown to be a very generous and kind man. if he was a real racist, why would he help the world the way he has? >> reporter: it's an argument that hasn't persuaded commissioner adam silver, who has demanded sterling sell the
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team that he's owned since 1981. >> i will urge the board of governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens. >> reporter: the board has taken the first step in making it happen. a committee voting unanimously to pursue charges that will cost sterling his franchise. once sterling received those charges, he has five days to respond in writing. and then ten days for a full hearing conducted by his fellow owners. if three-fourths find him guilty, the commissioner will take over and sell the team to a new owner. but sterling could sue the league. his litigious history suggests that's not farfetched. it can stop the process in its track, if he wins even a temporary injunction. >> he would have to convince a judge losing an nba franchise constitutes an irreparable harm. he may have an argument that it
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is. >> we'll see what happens. >> reporter: magic johnson, considered by many the front-runner in any prospective new owner sweepstakes, should sterling sell, changed his no interest to this. >> i will be owning an nba team some time. it has to be the right situation. is the clippers the right situation? of course. it's one of the premier franchises. >> reporter: but logistics from here to there. and the 81-year-old sterling, reportedly battling prostate cancer, still stands in the way. mike taibbi, nbc news, los angeles. >> the next step in this process, unless something changes, is that owners advisory committee will meet again some time this week and tell the commissioner what charge or charges they'd like him to file against donald sterling. that of course is unless donald sterling speaks this week and signals which way he's going to go. the story not over yet. at least not the important part of it is not over yet. by the way, there's a game tonight, t.j. >> oh, yeah, by the way.
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there's some financial impla i kas here. yes, he's a billionaire. still, he's having sponsorships being pulled from his team. this could, you know, as a whole hurt the nba. so i guess on the money side, what are we looking at? >> there's some real implications. if he sells right now, he would have to pay capital gains tax, 30%, on the difference of the price that he paid in 1981, $12 million, and the price now, which could be anywhere close to $1 billion. he may be on the hook for $200 million in capital gains tax. whereas if he file, a suit and drags it out and say he passes away before it's resolved, his heirs would only pay capital gains on the difference between the current value and the value then. so there are those reasons why people are wondering whether or not he'd sue just for financial reasons. >> that is a lot more to it. mike taibbi, thank you so much. for more now on the sterling case, let me bring in msnbc legal analyst faith jenkins.
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moneywise, it makes sense to -- why would he? i mean, why would -- >> he has the money to litigate this kind of lawsuit as well. >> as long as he wants. >> really, the lawsuit in this case is going to be a debate over the interpretation of the relevant language in the nba constitution. because if you look at article 13, which addresses when the owners can force a sale of the team, all the conditions really relate around financial manners, not specifically conduct like he's alleged to be engaged in. it will basically impact the economic viability of the nba. sterling's going to turn around and say, article 13 is not supposed to be interpreted in this way. it's not meant to address the type of transgressions i'm accused of. >> as we talk about, as we see this over and over in professional sports, athletes can be banned, they can be suspended for conduct detrimental, if you will.
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you're saying there's nothing in there that necessarily says an owner has to behave a certain way other than protect the viability of the league. >> right, there's no real morals clause. under the suspension, when the nba commissioner suspended sterling, he has broad authority to do that. just like he does players. because of that language about conduct debtmetrimental to the league. now you're talking about going in, taking away a franchise from someone. sterling is perhaps going to file a lawsuit, saying this is a breach of contract. you can't force a sale and sever the contract with me under these conditions. >> as i sit here with you, from what you know, everybody's going to be trying to break this down, he has a case, in your opinion, sterling. >> i think he has a case because of the language. however, t.j., if i had to call this one, i think he will lose. because look at the number of sponsors that pulled out, prelawsuit. the nba can look at the action, taken before the lawsuit.
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if he's continued to be the owner of the team. >> i have another topic. we can certainly go on and on about sterling. a lot of people were talking about this week. this is a case that garner a lot of media attention. mike anderson is the guy's name. a missouri man woz bho's battli the system now. there was a clerical error the state made. the state of missouri. believing mike anderson was already in prison when he really wasn't. the state now wants him to serve that time because of its error. >> the state still takes the position, look, we have a judgment. we're entitled to have this guy serve a sentence. how long a sentence, that's the question. >> i shouldn't have to serve it out now, because i feel the last 14 years of my life speak for itself. it shows that i'm not that
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person who they said i was. i wouldn't have turned out to be the man i am now. >> from an emotional standpoint, i a lot of people may be on his side. does he have much of an argument that shows he has the case that shows why he shouldn't go back? >> through no fault of his own, he was out. he didn't run. he didn't hide. he stayed right in that community. got married, had kids. built a life. as prosecutors, our job -- i was a prosecutor for a number of years. our job is to do justice. and that means something in every case. in every case, you're going to look at an individual, their life, their circumstances. you take all of those circumstances. there are a number of mitigating factors that show it would do more harm than good. that burden was not on him. they were supposed to contact
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him and tell him when to report to prison. even in his appeals, they wrote in the papers he was out pending appeal. so it was completely the state's case, mistake. >> he being a victim in the case, is that -- >> it is going to help him. all these factors i think are going to come into play. even the attorney general has said at this point we have to continue the fact we made a mistake. we have to consider that he's created this life. he's done what we want people to do, which is reformed himself. he should be given some type of credit for that. >> we appreciate you, as always. enjoy the rest of your day. we're about ten minutes past the hour now. a lot of you have been chiming in, should mike anderson have to serve his prison sentence? 22% of you said yes. 78% said no, at this point, he should not have to serve the sentence. for the first time in a long
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time, there's a bit of good news. earlier today, a team of european observers would werena released by the pro-russian separatists there. at least 42 people were killed overnight as a fire broke out amid a protest in odessa. clashes in the streets, throwing firebombs and stones. also today, russian foreign minister sergey lavrov said the u.s. should call on ukraine to halt its military operations. yesterday, president obama hosted german chancellor angela merkel at the white house there they discussed the crisis. >> we're united in our determination to impose costs on russia for actions. as they move to restore order in eastern ukraine, it is obvious to the world these russianbacked groups are not peaceful protesters. they're heavily armed militants who are receiving support from russia. >> our guest is a fellow at the
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george washington university institute for public diplomacy and global communication. always good to get your perspective. punishing russia, is it going to be financial? is it the president at some point, do you see any indication he's going to be willing to go farther than just financial sanction, waver that may be? >> well, there are limited tools here. putin habs the strongest cards to play in this particular crisis. what happens in ukraine is far more important to russia and to europe than it is, you know, to the united states. the president has been able to inflick some costs on putin. the markets have inflicted some costs on russia. obviously, first and foremost, up to vladimir putin how far this goes. >> you wrote that angela merkel, chancellor merkel, is the one who maybe has the most influence in this whole crisis, because of the relationship with president putin. what is that relationship? >> well, i mean, let's say it,
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you know, vladimir putin has the greatest influence here but merkel is probably in the best position among western leaders, you know, to talk to him, to communicate to him, and try to convince him to deescalate. obviously her words in the last couple of days talking to putin directly and her comments yesterday about the importance of getting the osce team released, you know, we see that that gesture today, obviously, we still see a dire situation that represents a serious threa. obviously, the conditions for that election are very, very difficult. >> we just heard the clip from president obama helicopters than taken down by surface to air missiles. grass root groups seem to have
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some access to sophisticated weaponry. how does that change things for the west if these types of things are happening and it's not grassroots anymore? >> i don't know where the -- what the source of those weapons were. whether the separatists overran a ukrainian military, you know, installation or they were smuggled in by russian agents from outside of the country. obviously, a fundamental definition of sovereignty is the -- a monopoly on the use of significant force. and obviously this is a tremendous calling to ukraine. the dilemma for the west and the dilemma potentially for russia is the longer this goes on, you know, once you open this can of worms, it's really hard to put humpty dumpty back together again. >> last thing to you here, the
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president's foreign policy has long been criticized and debated. it will continue to be the case no doubt, decades after he's out of office. what is your take? how would you describe the president's foreign policy doctrine? you can't grade until it's all said and done. we might not see the results until way down the road. i just want to get your take on it before we go. >> this is like the play by play. we're in the fifth inning of the game, you know, and you might be look at the most recent event but you don't necessarily know how things wind up. perhaps the most complex international environment when you think about world affairs, plus the economy, that any president has faced, you know, since fdr. he has unwound the wars in iraq and he's unwind the war in afghanistan. we have something that we longed
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forecast, a transformative moment in the middle east. no one could have predicted how it happened in 2011. now you're facing the most serious challenge to european security we've seen since bosnia 20 years ago. this is a very difficult environment. the president has some cards to play. not great cards to play. and has tried to manage the situation as best as he can. >> all right, peter crawly, thanks. it's a growing threat to the very survival of sin city. what is it that could make leaving las vegas the only option? (music) defiance is in our bones. defiance never grows old. citracal maximum. calcium citrate plus d. highly soluble, easily absorbed.
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♪ sleep train ♪ ♪ your ticket to a better night's sleep ♪ a new train system is dealing with being too popular in one of america's biggest
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vacation cities. orlando's sun rail was overflooded with riders in its debut this week. now it's figuring out how to keep this whole thing on track. joining me now, dan tracy of the orlando sentinel. explain one more time. why this thing is such a big deal. >> well, we've never had a fixed rail system in metro orlando before and it's been many years of trying to get it to go and it finally happened this week. >> finally happened. it happened in a big way, 11,000 riders on the first day which was thursday. and it caused some delays. this wasn't the greatest start in terms of delays. that wasn't the point on day one anyway, right? >> they've never tried a system like this before in our area. there's going to be a lot of start-up issues. they certainly had them. >> you had a lot of people just hopping on for the fun of it right now, they just want to check it out. >> that's right. the rides are free for the next two weeks. they got a lot of joy riders in
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addition to the commuters. the problem was a lot of people would get on the train and ride it all 31 miles and then turn around and ride it all the way back. so the seats weren't turning over. >> how is this thing paid for? >> it's about $1.2 billion. it's a combination of state, federal and local funding. >> okay. how is this going to -- you say you never had one before? how is this -- because a lot of people are watching how you did it, it how it was paid for and how it's going to work out. is this -- do you have already, maybe you know, some people from other states, other communities, you know, coming in and asking questions, checking it out? is it possible, this could be a model, and we'll see things in other -- how well it goes, is this something we could see in other places? >> it's a possibility. this was a long arduous fight in central florida. it's not something that's going to happen overnight anywhere
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else. all things are possible, i suppose. >> all things are possible. how much longer is it free? that's key right now. >> the next two weeks. anybody who wants to jump on, go for ride, more power to you. >> a lot of people drive down to that area. a lot of people will hop a plane and then the rent a car. do you think there's going to be an impact on the environment down there if more people start to take this thing? >> the notion is it's going to take commuters off of interstate 4 which is the main transportation artery in central florida and has been for a long time. it's about to undergo seven years of construction. they'll add four toll lanes to the middle of it. the theory was an alternative to sitting in a lot of construction. so sun rail is that alternative. >> i assume there may be some criticism. some people -- there's always going to be criticism. we're seeing this video. i guess we don't see the bigger picture. it looks like it's running true neighborhoods. even downtown. give me an idea of where this
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thing runs and maybe any complaints you're getting from the community. >> it runs from north to south over a 31-mile route. starts up north in volusia county, to orlando and the south. downtown orlando is the employment hub. the theory is this a commuter train so it only runs five days a week. a lot complaints have been basically, you know, who's going to ride it, this is a car centric community, it doesn't go east and west, only north and south. you know, a lot of people just think it's not going to make it -- it's not going to have a very big impact because people won't leave their cars. >> it's the first train, give them a break, right? we appreciate you taking some time out with us here. good luck. we'll see you on the train down there. >> yes, sir. >> all right, we're getting close to the bottom of the hour. the story we've been talking about today so far. people are going to be talking about it for a while. a botched excuse in oklahoma this week. is it going to turn the tide
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devastating drought out west is putting the future of las vegas in jeopardy. nearby lake meet is at its lowest level in generations. this has forced the city to go into emergency conservation mode. what does that mean for las vegas? let me bring in las vegas sun reporter conner shine. a lot of people hear this and say, all right, it's in the desert, things get a little dry. okay, fine. but put this in perspective, just how unprecedented of an event we're having now. >> well, it's been a drought. we're getting into what a lot of people would say maybe the 15th or 16th year. it's really the length of this that has drawn on. las vegas is already a dry
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place. the snow pack in the colorado mountains that we usually use to feed our water system has been down for a long time. so we've watched lake meet which is one of our largest areas plummet by over 100 feet in elevation. >> speaking of that lake, lake meade, you see san diego marine physicist, he's the one that says, without massive cutbacks in water use, lake meade has a 50% chance of deteriorating to a dead pool by 2036. so can you cut back enough? that's a pretty scary quote. what are they doing, trying to cut back enough to keep that from happening? >> keep in mind the people who need to be cutting back, it's not just las vegas. the water in lake meade is shared. it goes down to arkansas, california, even mexico. cutting back is something all the states have to do. it's something all the states have on their mind. las vegas is actually ahead of the curve. even the city has been growing
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other the last decade. we've managed to shrink our water consumption by about a third. so we're doing well there but the problem is we can't keep up the drought, mother nature kind of conspiring against us. there's no end in sight and it's sent that lake down. >> "l.a. times" saying 70% of the city' water goes down lawns, public parks and golf courses. so what kind of challenge is this going to pose for the residents there and kind of -- even business, in terms of a lifetime change? >> yeah, well, we've already gotten through several of the lifestyle changes. if you go around the neighborhood, you'll see there's not a lot of grass in front of homes. for the most part, people have gotten to a water efficient landsca landscaping. they've made other changes, but yeah, they're going to have to figure out a way to keep driving that number down. it's going to really rely on other states too. nevada pulls less than 2% of the
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water coming out of the colorado. compared to some other places in california and arizona, no matter how much we save, it won't make a big dent in the amount of water that's being lost. >> all right, conner shine from las vegas sun, serious situation out there. conner, we appreciate you taking some time out. thanks for having me. up next, we're going to be talking to the reporter who watched that botched execution joining me next. [ female announcer ] the secret to luminous, shiny color? innovative cc cream from nice 'n easy. our advanced treatment helps keep highlights and lowlights shiny and luminous. cc cream, find it in every box of nice 'n easy. the most natural shade of you. out for drinks, eats. i have very well fitting dentures.
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welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." we're just past the bottom of the hour here. turning to that botched execution in oklahoma that has set off a firestorm of reaction. the governor has ordered a review. both sides of the debate say it's likely to touch off a flood of lawsuits over lethal injection. could this all lead to changes in the death penalty? let me bring in our guest, a
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reporter and witness to lockette's failed execution. we're going to kind of go back here to the moment. you were there to do a job. >> correct. >> at what point when sitting in this room witnessing this execution, when did you realize that something was wrong? >> really right off the bat. it started much later than other executions. all of us had covered others as well. we knew something was wrong. and then it took ten minutes to declare the inmate unconscious. then there was three minutes of sort of stillness from the inmate. and that's when the violent reaction began. >> you say violent reaction. you said this went -- i thrink you told me it went several minutes as well. describe what you mean there. >> what i witnessed is the inmate kick his leg and then this is a person who's supposed to be unconscious, remember, for three full minutes.
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he writhed around in pain, he clenched his jaw, he mumbled several times phrases that we couldn't understand. he rose up off the gurney. looked to me like he was trying to get up. he was rolling his head side tore side. it was very disturbing. the only word i could maybe out was he said, man. several of the witnesses say he thought he said something's wrong. so a three, four minutes of that kind of reaction. >> what was the reaction of the people who were around you? >> there were 12 media witnesses in the viewing chamber which is the maximum allowed. we had to participate in a lottery to witness. there were about half a dozen law enforcement officials in a separate room. there were family members of the victim. the reaction of the journalists was we were just furiously writing down every note we could take. i know there was some shock on
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the faces of the people in the execution chamber. the doctor in the chamber got up and went aaron and lifted the sheet off the inmate's arm and looked at his arm because we later learned there was no i.v. in his arm. it had to be plabsed in his leg because they couldn't find a good vein in his arm. >> i want to play a bit of the oklahoma department of corrections director briefing reporters moments after this execution. let's listen. >> after concurring with the warden, and unknown how much drugs went into him, it was my decision at that time to stop the execution. at approximately 7:06, inmate suffered what appears to be a massive heart attack and passed away. that is it. that is all my statement. that's all the information i have at this time. >> this, no doubt, is going to -- or has set off a debate nationally. what is the reaction you all
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have been seeing there, particularly in oklahoma? because you have some people who will say, you know what, this man was convicted of a crime, a heinous crime, and he deserved the death penalty, and so what if he went through a lot of pain. that will be some people's reaction. other, saying no one should die and have to go through such an inhumane thing. give me an write of the reaction there in oklahoma. >> oklahoma's a conservative state. the death penalty has about an 85% support. you know, i've received a majority of reaction, people saying things like what about the victim, i don't care if the inmate felt pain, you know, so did his victim, that kind of thing. there are many people who were troubled by the fact this was -- do they want this to be carried out lawfully, if they support it. it's a vast range of reaction. most of them really siding with the need to remember the victim, which we have in a front-page
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story two weeks ago. we did a large story about the victim. >> last thing here, has there been any reaction to this? what reaction have you gotten from friends, family members, of the victim? >> yeah, they really have asked for privacy. we have respected that. and the materials that they give reporters before the execution, there are letters written by friends and family of the victim. so i use that to pull together a story about this young woman who had just graduated from high school two weeks before her death. >> all right. enterprise reporter for the tulsa world, thank you so much for sharing your perspective and that experience, which i'm sure we'll be talking to you again. thank you. the latest polling shows support for the death penalty is at its lowest for 50 years. 55% of americans support it. the number has been trending downward since the early '90s. the political battle over benghazi, is it a winner for republicans? why did condoleezza rice back
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let's take a turn here, folks. big night tonight. it's called the nerd prom. the white house correspondents dinner kicks off tonight. nbc white house correspondent -- yeah, i was hoping you were going to be dressed in your outfit. just checking. big deal tonight. who is hosting this thing, and so on? >> this has been a tradition here in washington, d.c. since 1921, since then, the event has only grown. it's become really a star-studded evening. and a lot of people say it's a time-honored tradition. some critics say the whole thing has gotten over the top. the biggest names in hollywood descending on d.c. this weekend. from oscar winner lupita nyong'o to sophfia vergara and jessica
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simpson. the event looking like something out of tinseltown. make no mistake, this is what many call the nerd prom. >> a term coined by political reporters who clearly never had the chance to go to an actual prom. >> it's a chance for the press corps to break bread with sources and for the commander in chief to show off a lighter side. >> i always look forward to these dinners. it's just a bunch of media types. hollywood liberals. democrats like joe biden. how come i can't have dinner with the 36% of the people who like me? >> and comedians don't hesitate to take aim at everyone in the room. >> we know that polls are just a collection of statistics that reflect what people are thinking in reality. and reality has a well-known liberal bias. >> but some have argued the dinner has become a celebrity spectacle instead of a
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celebration of journalism. >> if there's ever an event that separates the press from the people that they're supposed to serve symbolically it is that one. it is time to rethink it. >> i do not think that any serious journalist who covers politics is going to be corrupted because they sit next to a source at a meal or sit next to a celebrity. >> a marquee night that often makes headlines of its own. and nbc's joe mchale will be the comedian this year and president obama and the first lady will be there. of course, a lot of people anticipating president obama's speech tonight. t.j., back to you. >> who do you have to meet? who is your one thing, your one celebrity? >> that's a really good question. i'm looking forward to meeting joe mchale. i admire his work. so that should be a lot of fun. i will be there, t.j. i'm going to get all the scoop and i'll bring it to you tomorrow. >> kristen welker, you enjoy your prom tonight, we'll talk to
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you soon. we'll have live coverage on msnbc tonight starting at 9:00 eastern, the white house correspondents dinner. don't miss it. let's turn to the big three now. benghazi fever. rutgers rice fight. and the best and worst week. nbc contributor goldie taylor. democratic strategist morris reid. republican strategist joe watkins. hello to you all. let's start. benghazi fever, is that what we want to go with now, goldie? just not going to let this go, republicans, because clearly they believe they have something here. but do they have -- i mean, if you try to take politics out of it, which we probably can't, do they feel some obligation to look into this further? is there something authentic, if you will, about it? or is it just 100% politics? >> if there were something authentic about these hearings, if there was something nonpolitical about these
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hearings, then we would be asking ourselves what is it we can do to protect the installations we have around the globe, you know, what is it we should have done leading up to the attack on that installation that would have prevented in a meaningful way those deaths. but we're not having that conversation. we're having a conversation about sunday morning talking points. which were, you know, supplied by the cia. and so if we were going to have a meaningful conversation, we would be on those things. instead, we're on what's going to happen in the midterm elections. wear on pulling together a special house committee so we can keep this on the front page, you know, until these midterms. no, i don't have any faith they were going to get any real answers. >> let me bring you in here. what we're talking about here is speaker boehner said he will form a select committee. let's listen now to nancy pelosi's reaction to this panel being put together. she told our steve kornacki. let's listen. >> i have not been informed by the speaker of his plans to
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establish such a commission, is it. benghazi is such a very sad event. more than an event, a tragedy. for the ex-ploy toigs of it to be just never ending by the republicans is really hard to understand. >> well, how do you, i guess, argue about it being anything other than politic, right now? >> well, of course, there is a political side to it. there's no doubt about that, t.j. but at the same time, i guess you've always got to investigate what happened when americans lose their lives. there's still so many unanswered questions. doesn't make sense to at least find out what happened and maybe how we can prevent it from happening in the future. timing in politics is critical. but at the end of the day, politics aside, it's still a very, very important matter to be studied. >> morris, i'm always looking at
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you, trying to read what you're thinking. i can never figure it out. tell me what you just heard from these two and also from lindsey graham, calling it a smoking gun, as republicans dig deeper. also looking forward potentially to 2016 and how this might hurt hillary clinton. >> i can be skeptical and tell them republicans should have been more thorough about weapons of mass destruction with george bush. that will get me nothing. this will get the republicans nothing. this is clearly about hillary clinton. they're trying to pin this whole thing on her and slow her down for her presidential race that she hasn't even announced. the fact is that americans lost their lives. we need to do more to protect our embassies if boehner and pelosi want to do something, they should give our embassies more protection by funding, getting more money to the embas embassies.
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our embassies are underprotected. that's what they need to spend time on, protecting our american citizens and ambassadors. >> we'll turn to the former secretary of state condoleezza rutgers because students were protesting, upset about her involvement in the iraq war. she put a statement up on her facebook page saying, rutgers' invitation to me to speak has become a distraction for the university community at this very special time. i understand and embrace the purpose of the commencement ceremony and simply unwilling to detract from it in any way. was this the right thing for her to do? >> i think that condoleezza rice has to do the right thing for herself. she has a right to her views. she has the right to the dissent that sometimes those views seem to get her. you know, i'm of the mind that commencement speakers are there to honor the students. so the students need to have more voice and who's chosen to address them on their commencement day. that doesn't seem to happen in far too many universities. thus, you find some of these
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student uprisings. it comes from speakers from the right and the left. sean combs, there was debate about whether or not he should address howard university as its commencement speaker. i think this controversy will continue to happen until you have students choosing who will address them on the day they walk. >> you know, morris, that's a good point. the students don't get much of a say. they got a say this time. what would you say to the students as well about this idea of having people maybe that you do disagree with, being open to hearing from everyone and having a free exchange of ideas? >> welcome to the real world. you're going to graduate. you're going to have a job, and you're not going to agree with everyone you work with. i think condoleezza rice should have spoken. frankly, if she wanted to address her concerns, she should have used the commencement speech to address their concerns instead of backing out. so i think these guys need to grow up and face reality. you'll not get your way every day. if you want to protest, you'll be less productive in this society. >> are you giving a commencement speech this year, man? i would love to come to yours. all right.
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we're going to take a quick break. joe, i'm going to let you in here. do i have time to get joe in this break? okay. joe, do it for me quickly. what do you think about rice's decision? >> i worked with condy in the white house. she did the right thing, i think. it would have been great for the kids to have heard what she had to say, whether they agreed or disagreed. she's a classy person. i respect her right to withdraw. >> okay. i have a commencement speech to make at clark atlanta university in a couple weeks. morris, i'm taking notes, man. i'm taking that stuff with me. quick break. >> i'll write the speech for you. >> quick break. we'll come back with the best and worst of the week. ♪ (woman) this place has got really good chocolate shakes. (growls) (man) that's a good look for you.
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time for our best and worst of the week. goldie, you're up first. >> first, i want to thank you for surrounding me with all this brotherly love. that's one of my best of the week. but my best of the week is a long island high school student who was accepted to all eight ivy league schools, chose yale, but he's one of the several students who accomplished that this year. so hats off to this class of
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2014. my loser of the week is floyd "money" mayweather, who saw he had not the force of character not to release the medical records of his ex-fiance online the other day. a poor choice in judgment. >> all right. morris, you're next. >> i think that my winner is the nba's adam silver and the way the players handled the situation. my loser is the way the french government is handling ge's purchase. it's all about a global world. >> all right. joe? >> yeah, my winner is chelsea, who was the one that gave us the word about mr. leroux who planned to kill all those kids and also his own family. and my worst of the week, of course, would be that number, the work force participation rate. over 92 million americans not even in the work force. we need to get people back looking for work and hired. >> all right. joe, morris, goldie, good to see
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you all. goldie, you're welcome for the brotherly love. morris, i'll be in touch shortly about the commencement address. thank you, guys. that wraps it up for this edition of "weekends with alex witt." okay, listen up! i'm re-workin' the menu. mayo? corn dogs? you are so outta here! aah! [ female announcer ] the complete balanced nutrition of great-tasting ensure. 24 vitamins and minerals, antioxidants, and 9 grams of protein. [ bottle ] ensure®. nutrition in charge™. [ bottle ] ensure®.
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developing right now, ukrainian forces just retook the security headquarters from pro-russian troops in a new round of fighting that's leaving hospitals overcrowded with the wounded. this as the mourning and cleanup is underway after one of the deadliest days yet. we're live at the white house, and we're also live on the ground in eastern ukraine with the latest. also ahead -- >> if he was a real racist, then why would he help the world the way that he has? >> defending donald sterling. the woman at the center of the scandal tells abc that he i